Boise State was off to a hot start on their 2014 recruiting and things pretty great in Bronco Nation until a bad week brought it all crashing down. The Titus Young saga went from bad to sad, and then to bizarre—besmirching his name and that of his alma mater, and then Freshman All-American Sam Ukwuachu was dismissed from the football team (and looks to have already landed at Baylor). Things were touch and go there for about a week, but rebounded nicely in the last several days with the announcement of a new, spacious video board for Bronco Stadium, and news that linebacker commit Joe Martarano would be honoring his pledge to the Broncos over a potential major league bid.
Make no mistake—this is big news for the Broncos, and strictly speaking...means more to the team than a 20-yard long video board. Martarano was the top player in the state for the 2013 class and also the earliest ever verbal commit to Boise State. Him honoring his commitment and staying in state have huge implications for the team in the short and long term. Furthermore, Bronco Nation won't have to wait until mid-June to find out where the talented linebacker will wind up—and with a summer that's already started out with shocking departures (Jimmy Laughrea and Sam Ukwuachu). a little peace of mind goes a long way.
Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that we're not completely out of the woods when it comes to Martarano—if he were to sneak into the first round of next month's MLB draft (highly unlikely) or the top of the 2nd (still unlikely), the paycheck would be tantamount to the baseball gods calling him home, but Martarano thinks his draft position is likely closer to the 3rd to 5th round, and that's simply not good enough for him to forego his dreams of Bronco glory.
"It's a big weight lifted off my shoulders,'' Martarano told Scout.com. "I've been trying to decide for about a year now on what I wanted to do. Now I can focus on football. ... It's going to be awesome to play for Coach Pete. It just shows what type of guy he is for him to hear me out on all of this baseball stuff. I'm real excited to play for him.''
Martarano, a 6'4" 230 lb. athlete, had 147 tackles last season for Fruitland and will give the Broncos plenty of options on defense. He easily fits the mold of a true middle linebacker, but also has the size and skill set to play defensive end. Joe's an elite athlete with blue and orange in his blood and was right in Boise State's backyard—thankfully, it looks like he won't be one that gets away.